Judging from what actually makes it to the prime-time line-up – I mean, a remake of Melrose Place?! – it might be hard to imagine how difficult it is to break into television, especially for independent television producers. That is the reason why the New York Television Festival was created in 2005, and why they sponsor an Independent Pilot Competition.
nytvfpilotsThis year at the fifth annual New York Television Festival, the 37 television pilots (see right, and below) that were chosen out of some 300 submissions will be screened for free throughout the week of the festival. (You can also watch excerpts of them on their YouTube channel.)

The independent television festival is modeled on the many independent film festivals. (Coincidentally or not, NYTVF occurs in part during the same time as the 31st annual Independent Film Week, which occurs from September 19th to September 24th and is not open to the public.) The TV festival, which will be held mostly at New World Stages on 50th Street off Eighth Avenue,
but also at the Paley Center for Media http: and at The Times Center, includes on its schedule several sneak previews of network TV shows — two new fall comedy series from ABC, “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town” and the ABC drama “Flashforward”; Fox’s “Family Guy” spin-off “The Cleveland Show; ION Television’s “Durham County.” There will also be short films submitted by filmmakers across the country, some of whom will be awarded various plums (such as a “pilot script deal”) by NBC Universal in a program called “Short Cuts.” (perhaps a pun?)

There will be a panel of New York Television Festival (NYTVF) alumni on “The Indie Artist’s Guide to Producing a Pilot” and another on “The Future of Comedy.” One panel will include the writers for “30 Rock” (Saturday, September 26th at noon); another the writers of “The Late Show with David Letterman.” (Tuesday evening, September 22nd); another Illeana Douglas (pictured on the couch above) of the Web television series “Easy To Assemble.” (Wednesday, September 23rd at 12:30) There will also be a panel on interactive storytelling, aka Web Television.

Most of the events are free, and as added incentive, at several of the free screenings, Xbox 360s will be given to selected members of the audience, presumably in a fair, random selection process.

Some events cost money. A “pass” for several events can run from $125 to $300. Who said TV was cheap?

(The independent television pilots pictured in this post, all of which will be screened during the festival and are up for awards, include (man without a shirt in top collage) “Leaving Bliss” (comedy) and (from top to bottom at right) “Around the Block” (reality show); “Blue Movies” (comedy); “Cost of Living” (“recession comedy”); “God & Co.” (animated comedy); “Johnny B. Homeless” (comedy); “Titsburg” (comedy); “Who’s The Baddest?” (reality); “Lost Cities” (mock travel))

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